Without any doubt, the practice of yoga has deep roots, going back to the third millennium B.C.E. The prime meaning of yoga was associated with calming the mind, purification the inner world and providing a communication between ego (I) and id (desire of the inner world) psychological parts of all human beings. Virtually, the practice of yoga has brought value to innumerable nations around the world. It is needless to say, that this extension of yoga has lead to differentiation of it into several types. They are following: Hatha yoga (yoga of physical postures and breathing exercises), Bhakti yoga (yoga of faithfulness), Karma yoga (yoga of service and discipline of action), Jnana yoga (yoga of intelligence) and Raja yoga (mental quieting through meditation). Nowadays it is observed, that some yoga practitioners are mainly focused on mediation, while other yogis and yoginis give preference to physical forms of yoga. However, the branding of yoga has created a new value to practitioners of yoga, yoga gurus and students. Advertizing of yoga, as an undoubtedly profound opportunity to find yourself, has considerably changed the initial mission of yoga. It becomes to acquire a new value – consumption and marketing. Firstly, the yoga gurus proclaimed that yoga is a unique opportunity to relax and to find peace. Then they substituted the spiritual wealth to the altar of commercialism.
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It is generally true, that historical roots of yoga value were created in the- 19th century. It was a time, when Hindu and Indic literature firstly reached the USA. The most notable names with which branding of yoga were associated at that time were the following: Swami Vivekanada, Margaret Woodrow Wilson, Indra Devi and Richard Hittlemen. According to the statistics in 2008, about 16 million people in the U.S. were practitioners of yoga. There were many publications about the development of modern industry, including yoga. It was pointed out that branding of yoga was a tremendous and this led to its absolute commercialization. This was calculated the annual profit of yoga industry, it was approximately 6 billion of dollars. The branding of yoga was very widespread and it eventually caused the inner “war” between the yoga gurus. The most considerable campaigns for gaining the superiority in yoga approaches were between Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and Bikram Yoga NYC. The goal of the disagreement was establishing of “autocracy” on yoga market and gaining as many as possible customers. Furthermore, the Indian government began to catalog 1, 500 yoga poses in a digital library in order to patent them and reduce the level of copywriting. This was doing on purpose, thus nobody wanted to lose their won priority and money as well. Looking at the above mentioned examples, it is clearly amplified that branding of yoga has caused modification of the initial value of yoga and extended a great campaign for getting the first place on the market.
Undoubtedly, two significant influencers of the yoga brand value creation and alteration are Bikram Choudhury and Tara Stiles. They became the central figures in branding yoga in the USA. Both of them have taught yoga, however, by employing different teaching approaches. The common feature of their teaching was development the value of yoga brand through offering an abundance of new varieties of yoga. The founder of American yoga is Bikram Choudhury. His main brand was teaching yoga in hot rooms where temperatures ranged between 100 and 105 degrees. He claimed that heat helped to stretch more, it hurt less and would never cause the injury. Furthermore, yoga in a hot room is a convenient device to reach euphoria and pleasure. Bikram wrote a book “Bikram’s beginning yoga class”. His teaching approach was very popular and until 2011 he had more than 5000 studios all around the world. Annually, Bikram’s business got 5 million of dollars. Moreover, he started to teach teacher who also had to pay tuition fee about 7 000 dollars. One of the most peculiar features of Bikram’s yoga business was patenting his approaches. He had luck in preventing his teaching methods from copywriting. There were a lot of court cases in which Bikram asserted his authentic rights. Additionally, he developed the certificate programs that were called as Bikram Yoga Teacher. He did it in order to establish his brand name and unique technique. Consequently, the branding business model developed by Bikram Chaudhury was well-organized and brought in big returns.
On the contrary to Bikram’s branding models, Tara Stiles made a mixture of yoga and dancing. She did not perform a certain style. Her promoting career was connected with Ford Modeling Agency. In 2006 she participated in several fashion shoots that include yoga apparel. Tara Stiles did not like these promotions which she had to do on YouTube. Then she started to promote the yoga classes on Facebook. Women’s Health and The Huffington Post hired her a blogger. Tara’s brand was simple, since she proclaimed that yoga does not need a new ideological or religious leader, it should be simple. Moreover, she has collaboration with fitness brand “Team Fonda”. Under their guidance, she launched a DVD and published a book “Slim Calm Sexy Yoga”. Additionally, Tara worked with iPAD app Authentic Yoga center. This cooperation contributed to her popularity and labeled the selling of her yoga industry.
Undoubtedly, looking at the above mentioned points, it could be generalized that Bikram’s business model is more sustainable, since he started to establish his brand name slowly, but confidently. His business industry numbers approximately 5000 studios all around the world. Moreover, he has patented his authentic right and prevented it from duplication. It is needless to say, that his business organization of yoga training is high-qualified and more stable. Thus, there are many opinions that Bikram’s teaching approaches are regimented. On the contrary, Tara Stiles appeals to young generation and her teaching approaches are modern. But this fact does not ascertain the fact that her business model is sustainable. To support this idea, there were many facts about Tara’s business brand transformation from Ford Modeling Agency to with iPAD app Authentic Yoga center. This fact is a vital index of instability of Tara’s branding business model. Furthermore, Bikram’s yoga industry remains sanctity of yoga, it is a “pure” type of yoga (of course, with its own teaching approaches), not as in Tara’s business that throw doubts on the subject whether it is yoga or just dancing.
All in all, with the development of modern world, people are changed too. The most crucial for them is money that determines the psychology of perception of surrounding world. In the case of yoga branding, this factor is also used, since commercialism has started to play a significant role of establishing yoga. Nowadays the primary meaning of yoga as an effective tool of purification of mind and body has lost its vitally. The most valuable thing for yoga gurus is an amount of students and a price for a class. There is no thought about spirituality between teachers of yoga; the altar of yoga wealth is estimated by material world. The modern followers of yoga: Bikram Choudhury and Tara Stiles commenced a campaign against each other, while they wanted to reach the first place on the yoga business market. Both of them employed modern devices, such as Internet and advertising, in order to attract a big audience, capture the attention and promote their business. Without no doubt, Bikram’s branding business model is more sustainable and competitively proofed, comparing to Tara’s Stiles. It can be generalized by the fact that Bikram’s business appeals to public at different age and it is widespread all around the world.
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